How did the rebrand go?
Rebranding was a key milestone for us, it unites us as a business, aligns us with our parent company and enables us to benefit from investment into the Old Mutual Wealth brand in all our markets globally.
Our research shows our brand recognition among advisers and customers is growing, and greater brand recognition will ultimately help us in all the jurisdictions we operate in, so this will have a positive cumulative impact over time.
We have also just announced a multimillion pound investment into our brand through becoming a principal partner of English rugby. Being title sponsor of the England Rugby Men’s and Women’s Autumn International Series – Old Mutual Wealth Series – will further raise our brand recognition among our target market on an international scale.
Where are the strongest sales this year?
Our strongest area of growth this year has been in our high net-worth proposition. Old Mutual International has seen the number of high net-worth cases increase by 40% compared with 2014.
We are also experiencing success in the ultra-high net-worth channel, generating a number of new investments that have exceeded £10m ($14.4m, €13.2m).
The products helping to boost our numbers include the Silk Life Plan in Singapore and the Life Investment Portfolio in Latin America. These high net-worth solutions are gaining traction in their markets, and have been pivotal in helping us to build institutional relationships.
Singapore and Latin America are two regions that stand out as a result of this high net-worth growth and expansion into institutional distribution channels.
Are there any regions where sales have fallen this year?
Regulatory change is something that providers and advisers are facing in many jurisdictions and is inevitably having an impact on sales growth. We are trying hard to stay ahead of the game, as seen in Hong Kong, where we were one of only a handful of providers to have a new Guidance Note 15 (GN15) compliant product solution available at the start of 2015.
Some markets are tougher than others. The UK, for instance, has seen industry sales in offshore bonds decline over time. However, opportunities do still exist, and forward-thinking providers and advisers will emerge as the real winners in future.
What types of client do you target?
Our business has historically attracted internationally mobile expats who need tax-efficient solutions, but increasingly we are attracting local affluent investors, particularly in Asia.
Affluent and high net-worth investors are our core markets. The work we are doing with institutions, such as private banks, and the acquisition of Quilter Cheviot, will help strengthen our position in the high net-worth and ultra-high net-worth space.
Have you noticed any trends in terms of underlying fund selection in recent months?
A key trend we are seeing is advisers and clients moving towards outsourced investment solutions. Advisers are recognising their skill and value lies in the financial planning advice they offer their clients rather than in stockpicking.
The UK and South Africa are good examples of this and we see regulatory change in other regions shifting behaviour over time.
Do you expect any changes to your distribution model in the next few years?
Financial advice is something we very much believe in. We will continue to invest in the support we offer advisers, and broaden our distribution channels, such as the growing institutional channel and the high net-worth market.
Quilter Cheviot will also help open up new distribution channels and opportunities for us.